Sips Tea: Storms, Stress, and a Little Self Love

Photo courtesy of Helena J.

Rain, rain go away. Come again… nah. Stay away.

I’m sure I speak for many people when I say that I would very much appreciate if the rain and general cloudy weather subsided. Last night after attending a master’s program informational session on the USC Health and Sciences campus, I stood outside in the rain waiting for my Uber for about 10 minutes. No bueno. The sweater I was wearing that only early in the day resembled a cute, fluffy blanket now looked like a wet dog draped over my shoulders. The thing about rain, and more specifically “a drizzle or a light sprinkle” is that it adds up.

Ruminating on this idea while I sipped some tea (yes, literally), I knew exactly what I wanted to write about this week — things that “add up”. I know this concept seems obvious but considering that many of us are already being rudely awoken by midterms and the like, I figured addressing it would be very applicable.

Besides a bunch of readings and my laundry, stress was one of the first things that came to mind when I asked myself what I had been letting “add up” lately. As someone who seeks comfort in writing post-its and to-do lists, I realized that while I had been so focused on crossing things off my list, I might have pushed my own self care to the back burner. In comparison to going to five meetings by Wednesday and preparing for the GRE this Friday, my own sanity got little attention.

Much like the phenomenon of being “hangry” (which oh girl, I get so hangry), I feel like not attending to your stress can lead to very similar symptoms. You know, the usual, moodiness verging on homicidal. It was only when I sat down to write about all this that I realized I have a tendency to reserve time for the things I deem “important”, like going to a club meeting or turning in that paper, but I don’t reserve time my own self love. I think a lot of us are culprits of this way of thinking that puts all the other stuff in the important category, while our own attention and needs sometimes get lost in the sauce.

I know for a fact that this is me on 100 because had I not actually signed up for yoga as a class, I’m sure I would be sitting here five weeks into the semester making the same excuses about how “I don’t have time for that” or “I’m too busy this week I have more important things going on.” I actually had to take yoga under the pretenses that I would be getting a grade for showing up. This seems problematic on many levels to me.

For anyone who finds themselves in this same position, I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing that. Hey, you’re taking the yoga class, or whatever it might be for you in this example. But, I think what we, especially college students, under value our ability to make time for anything we truly want to want time for. Whether it is one hour of yoga a week, going out to dinner with that friend you have caught up with in a while, or planning to volunteer at that animal shelter you’ve been wanting to for months now.

You are important enough to carve out the time in that oh so busy schedule of yours. You sanity, self-care, mental health, physical health and overall happiness is important enough. They’re just as important as preparing for that midterm. I would argue it’s even more important since I’m taking all these occupational therapy classes and “woke” on this topic now, but don’t put the grades on the back burner instead either.

So if you’ve been wanting to go to the gym and get in a routine, find a way to hold yourself accountable. Pay for a class in advance so you can’t bail! If you’ve been wanting to join a club on campus and get involved, remember that Netflix will still be there when you get back. At the end of the day, year and ultimately your life, you aren’t going to look back and relish in the fact that you made it to all those meetings, you slept in that extra hour or that you studied that whole afternoon so you could get a slightly higher grade.

No. You’ll look back and be glad you made time for all the other thing you always wanted to do but might have been too scared, too lazy or “too busy” to.

Nike said it best… Just do it.

Samantha Johnson is a senior majoring in communication. Her column, Sips Tea, runs every other week on Friday.